What is spiritual training in kyudo?
What is spiritual training at all?
I don’t know.
We spend so much time going to our training halls, trying to hit the target, talking with others.
Is it possible that some of it is more spiritual than others? Some less than others?
When I started kyudo I imagined the spiritual aspect would be just me shooting the bow in perfect silence. Just the egotistical me. I quickly realized kyudo was a lot of things I didn’t expect, and many of them frustrating. We must learn to put on the gear, use the gear, maintain the gear. Take care of our clothes, take care of how to carry ourselves in the kyudo world, say the proper things at the proper times. Shooting is not something that comes naturally and requires endless hours of instruction from others which is as frustrating as it is fun. Perhaps more of the former. We are told to give our greatest effort and even then we still may fail.
It’s not just about shooting, it’s also about everything else about our lives that surrounds our practice. It’s about our families, our friends, our jobs, our responsibilities, unexpected trip-ups in life. All of these things affect our practice. If we use our minds to try and force everything into the little boxes we want them, if we try to submit all to our will regardless of anything but, then things get very messy, complicated and difficult. The practice we loved so much at first becomes like a chore, or a job, or a burden.
How we again rediscover the simple love in which we sought out the bow in the first place is probably different for us all. I imagine it comes unexpected and against our monkey minds. The shock of an outside wave bigger than us. Will it bring us back to the path of the bow? Will it take us elsewhere?
We must at once apply all of our effort,
and also find some sort of acceptance with the rest of the world.
For me, my kyudo practice becomes a burden when I feel disconnected from a kind of “sprituality” I sense.
That spirituality is not rushed, not controlled by money or digital devices. That spirituality is fun, inspirational, and holds a sense of home and adventure at the same time. Spirituality is accompanied by others on the path.
Spirituality is a kind of love we can’t express in words, but we can do it honor by continuation.
What is spirituality in your art?